Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/662/11441
For real jobs not exploitation
It was recently reported that an increasing number of students are taking up lap-dancing to fund their studies.
Becci Heagney and Jasmine Shadrack
Despite the arguments that working in 'sex entertainment' is liberating and empowering, the reality is that these young women are desperate for finances to get through university and to not be crippled by debt when they leave.
Women still earn less than men and in a sea of public sector cuts and rising unemployment, lap-dancing can seem like an ideal job. With the possibility of earning up to £300 a night and flexibility to work when you want, it is no wonder that it is estimated that one in three lap-dancers is a student.
However, on closer inspection, even the pay and flexibility are not as ideal as they might seem. In Northampton, where Socialist Party members are currently involved in a campaign to close a lap-dancing club, the women working there have to pay the owner for the 'privilege' of using his establishment.
They are also encouraged to do more, such as dancing completely naked, to earn more money. Many go home with less money than they started with.
It is often claimed that lap-dancing is just a bit of 'harmless fun'. But many lap-dancers are 'self-employed' and so have very few employment rights, meaning that the reality of these clubs is anything but harmless.
The advertising of these venues often uses images of half-naked women on billboards or on mobile ad vehicles. A survey in London has shown that in an area where lap-dancing clubs exist there was a rise in the number of attacks on women.
The rise in tuition fees to £9,000 a year, along with rising living costs and youth unemployment, means that students will be struggling even more to make ends meet.
Worried about leaving university with a lifetime of debt, more young women may feel that they have no other option but to work in these clubs.
We deserve better than this. University education should be fully funded, with full grants for all, so that students are not forced to work in degrading and unsafe jobs. We also need jobs with trade union rights and decent pay from day one.
In The Socialist 16 March 2011:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party campaigns